Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Here in Trinidad and Tobago we hear a lot of lovely speeches about the diversification of the local economy. This has been an active discussion in the public domain for decades, yet our leadership seem focused on everything else but the development of entrepreneurship and innovation in our country. How can you diversify without the development of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs? The challenges faced by entrepreneurs to access capital and opportunities to develop meaningful businesses can give the impression that the focus is to deter persons from engaging in entrepreneurship.
SME's account for more than 200 000 businesses in Trinidad and Tobago and contribute significantly to GDP and the provision of employment. Yet the realities of attempting to start a business is so burdened with complications and frustrations you maybe led to believe that doing so is actually detrimental to the economy. Why are there so little support systems for persons who are willing to engage in business? Entrepreneurs are people willing to become self-sufficient and contribute positively to the resources of the state but yet so few resources are made available to them. The state's flagship organizations charged with the responsibility of promoting entrepreneurship have only recently suffered the setback of being downsized themselves. What message does that send to the entrepreneurs that depend on their already limited service?
It is time for the development of a strong voice for the Micro and small businesses. Its time to begin lobbying the authorities to give the level of focus needed to this sector to drive the diversification of the economy. Don't let diversification become just another conversation. Let us all work together to support the people who can make diversification a reality. Let us focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Let us demand that the state provides the level of support needed and access to meaningful services so that entrepreneurs can gain easier access to capital, development opportunities and tax shelters to allow their businesses the opportunity to germinate and grow.
Its time to make a paradigm shift and start investing resources into entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is an investment that can only lead to positive gains. It reduces the dependence on the state's social programs and services as people become self sufficient. It increases the stock of jobs available to the society. It promotes wealth development; increases GDP; increases exports and improves the trade balance. Entrepreneurship also comes with the social benefit of supporting the reduction of crime. So with all these benefits, why isn't there even greater focus on the development of small businesses?